Aquaman villain Black Manta will not be a throwaway villain when he makes his live-action debut in the upcoming DC film.
Aquaman producer Peter Safran revealed that the iconic supervillain will continue to play a large role in DC films after his first appearance this December. The antagonist, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, was rumored to be set up for a bigger part of DC Films moving forward which Safran confirmed.
"We certainly have every intention that Manta plays a very large role in the DC universe," explained Safran in an interview with Cinema Blend. "We give him his origin story in this movie. We do show how Manta, that we see in the comic books, became that character. And we're so fortunate to have this guy, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, to play him."
First created in September 1967 by writer Bob Haney and artist Nick Cardy in the pages of Aquaman #35, the villain went on to become one of Aquaman's most recognizable and personal enemies. Safran's comments indicate Manta will indeed continue to haunt Arthur Curry in future films.
"From the early days of developing the screenplay, he's just such a great antagonist and he's such a fan favorite and the response every time people hear that he's in the movie or that it's confirmed that he's in the movie, they're thrilled about it," continued Safran. "We always wanted to give him his storyline and, if Orm is the primary antagonist, then Manta is certainly is a very strong secondary antagonist. There is a connection between Orm and Manta that will be revealed that helps make him a more integral part of the story."
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, and Dolph Lundgren as Nereus. The film is scheduled to be released in theaters on December 21.